Guiding Principles

Young people possess clarity and simple wisdom unencumbered by the experiences of adulthood. They see the world and its problems in plain, straightforward ways.

With this special quality of youth as the foundation, Vital New Voices puts the following principles into practice:

  1.  Creating art helps young people develop their capacities for self-expression, problem-solving, cooperation, resilience, empathy, self-esteem, personal growth, and optimism. That is why youth like to make things, tell stories, sing, and act out the dramas of the world around them.
  2. Young people are natural investigators and explorers. They ask honest questions about what they find.

  3. When they hear answers, they almost always follow up with “Why?” When the explanation doesn’t make sense to them, they ask again and again.

  4. Youngsters are sharply attuned to matters of fairness, right and wrong. They don’t naturally abide rationalizations.

  5. Communities stand to benefit when grownups listen to those questions from youth…and then focus on the fundamental issues underlying them.

  6. The arts connect people, experiences, and ideas. That is why the arts are especially good ways to access and express the wisdom, hopes, and heart of a person who is growing, learning, and coming to understand the world around them.

  7. Youthful expression of hopes and aspirations for the future can be a powerful agent for change: civic engagement in its most elemental form.